Sinus infection is also called as Sinusitis. Sinusitis is very common in children as well as adults. Sinusitis presents with thin or thick muco-purulent discharge from nose, fever, facial pain, headache and cough.
Sinusitis can be caused by viral or bacterial infection. Bacterial infection can be superimposed on viral infection. The role of antibiotics in sinusitis treatment comes in when bacterial infection sets in. For acute attack of sinusitis, antibiotics have to be taken for 10-14 days. For chronic infection, it should be taken for 20-25 days or more depending upon the progress of the case.
There are two types of antibiotics, narrow spectrum and broad spectrum antibiotics. Narrow spectrum antibiotics are penicillins, macrolides while broad spectrum antibiotics are cephalosporins and fluoroquinolones. Penicillin interferes with the cell wall building of bacteria. Amoxicillin is commonly used penicillin. Macrolides and fluoroquinolones prevent bacteria from multiplying. Cephalosporins hinder the cell wall synthesis of bacteria and destroy them. Erythromycin, clarithromycin are macrolides. Ceftibuten dehydrate is a type of cephalosporin and moxiflaxin is a fluoroquinolone used for sinus infection.
Sinusitis caused by bacterial infection responds very well to antibiotics. If any antibiotic does not work, then it is changed to another. If still it does not respond then the doctor needs to test you for the type of bacteria that has infected you. So that he can choose that antibiotic which is effective against that particular strain of bacteria.
Antibiotics need to be complemented with decongestants, antipyretics to obtain quick relief from all symptoms. If you have started taking antibiotics, then consult your physician when to stop it. If you stop early, there are chances that the bacteria may become resistant to the antibiotic. So till the complete infection is under control, it is not advised to stop the antibiotic.
Use of antibiotics should be done under the guidance of a doctor. Antibiotics can cause various side effects. Nausea, vomiting, headache, gastric upset are common side effects of antibiotics. Other side effects of antibiotics are bad taste in mouth, moderate to severe diarrhea, and vaginal yeast infection. Also there is risk of developing reaction to any antibiotic administered. So do not self medicate and always consult your physician before starting any antibiotic for sinus infection.